Workplace Health Promotion
Workplace health promotion is defined by the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work as:
The combined efforts of employers, employees and society to improve the health and wellbeing of people at work.
The outcomes achieved through a combination of :
- improving the work organisation and the working environment;
- promoting the participation of workers in the whole process of workplace health promotion;
- enabling healthy choices
- encouraging personal development.
Workplace health promotion means more than meeting the legal requirements for health and safety; it also means employers actively helping staff improve their general health and wellbeing.
Within this process, it’s essential to involve employees and take into account their needs and views on how to organise work and the workplace. Because making workers feel better and healthier, workplace health promotion leads to positive outcomes like:
- reduced turnover and absenteeism
- enhanced motivation and improved productivity
- as well as improving the employer’s image.
Overview of Health Promotion Programmes
Workplace health promotion can cover different topics and often closely related to safety risk assessment.
Some workplace health promotion issues that link to an improved safety culture:
- Enhancing wellbeing at work, for example, enabling flexible working hours or working from home
- Healthy eating at work, giving information on healthy nutrition as well as offering healthy canteen food or facilities to prepare own food
- Tobacco awareness, including supporting and individual trying to give up
- Participation of employees in the process of improving work organisation and environment (Consultation Regulations)
- Mental health promotion, offering courses for managers on how to deal with stress and tension or providing counselling services or employee assistance programmes
- Exercises and physical activity, offering sports courses, encouraging physical activity, promoting an active and healthy culture at work
- Health monitoring, offering professional health checks such as blood pressure or cholesterol level.
How Can Occupational Health Help?
Occupational health helps by starting and developing workplace health promotion campaigns. The campaigns must suit the workforce, achieved by knowing the staff or talking to reps or sending out questionnaires. What would they like to have? What are they likely to participate in?
Advertise Workplace Health Promotion Programmes
Decide the programme, agree on the format and get funding. In other words, get senior management commitment.
Next, how to reach all employees? Consider:
- One to one assessments
Not everyone likes the same method of delivery. Some will enjoy talking about themselves, others may prefer reading alone.
Occupational health should have considered the goals and objectives for each workplace health promotion programme.
- Expected attendance rate
- Reduced absence
- Reduced turnover
- Staff survey improvements (before and after qualitative statements)
- Better morale
- Before and after questionnaires about health improvement
- Improved knowledge of personal health
- Looking for cost-effective workplace health promotion programmes with the potential for maximum impact depending on staff needs.
- Companies can download quizzes and toolkits from the NHS Choices website. All free of charge.
- See also Workplace Health Management Practices from NICE
- Toolkits for wellbeing covering stress, suicide etc
- Wellbeing programmes
- Steps for a Wellbeing Programme